Nobody Thinks That Way!

As a long-time missionary, I have seen and heard many things that are different than what I grew up with. When I first came here, many things were very different. When we first arrived in the Philippines, people called my 1-year-old son, “tombok” (fat). My wife was unhappy they were calling him fat because he was not fat. We later found out that they use the word “fat” to mean “healthy” because skinny people are usually sickly.

When I tried to tell people about the differences, people would say, “Nobody thinks that way!” People do think differently. If we want to reach them for Christ, we must understand THEIR thinking so we can teach and preach to them clearly.

1. Do not assume that people think the same way that you do about things. Many times, in teaching the deaf, I had to explain things until they told me how they said it. For example, when I was teaching the life of Christ, I told about Judas’s betrayal. I used the thumbs down sign for betray. After explaining it, one deaf said, “You mean drop friend?” They thought about it different than I did.

2. Ask how they view things. I am constantly asking questions during my teaching. I want to be sure they understand. I ask questions about the lesson. One Sunday, we were teaching the doctrine of Satan. I asked them what demons meant? They did not know so I explained it. (I will make a whole lesson about it later.) Question, question, and question the deaf about your teaching. When you are finished asking questions, ask some more!

3. Talk with the deaf at break and other times. When you talk with them, you will learn many things about how they think and what they do (and do not) understand.

4. Use what the deaf use. Copy how they think and sign. It is their language! By using their thinking and signing methods, you will be able to reach the deaf better.

Yes, people do think that way!

Pray for the Deaf in India

Recently I visited a deaf school in Imphal, Manipur, India. They had 120 Deaf enrolled. I spoke with the director almost two hours. I heard a list of of grievances and complaints about how the government does not care for the Deaf nor for their needs. I also heard about the moral and social problems of these Deaf. Most of them come from homes that are Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim. They know nothing of Christ and His salvation. My heart was saddened as I left the school. I thought of the need of reaching Deaf people in this northeastern state of 3 million people. A Christian day school is needed badly. However, there is a greater need for someone to train Christians who will reach these Deaf people for Christ. Who will go? Pray, too, for the Deaf in Europe! Ten percent of the Deaf in the world live in Europe. Deaf people in Europe need Jesus Christ just like hearing people need Christ. I have come to the conclusion that we have done a better job at reaching Deaf people for Christ in Central America, South America, Africa, and Asia than we have done in Europe. That is sad. Europe is home to some of the most intelligent, affluent, and professional Deaf. These Deaf are a mission field! They are very influential in Europe and beyond. SWMI desires to tap into this mission field. This is a rich field of laborers for Christ, but they must know Christ first! They must be discipled long term. I spoke with a missionary in Romania recently who told me of a group of Deaf who want to attend the local Baptist Church, but they do not have an interpreter. Even more disconcerting is the fact that one of the Deaf men has a desire to be in the ministry, but there is no one to disciple him or to train him for ministry. This is very sad. SWMI is praying and seeking to put together a team of missionaries in Romania for countrywide ministry there, a team that will also strategically seek to reproduce disciples of Christ in other European countries. Missionaries are needed now. Please pray for this great need!

DO NOT STOP SERVING THE LORD

These many years I have served the Lord in five different Baptist churches, at Bill Rice Ranch and SWM. As I pastored I was laid off because of church finances. I was discouraged and thought about quitting the ministry as a pastor or missionary. During that time a deaf leader called and ask me to preach to his deaf department of a Baptist church for Deaf Day in Atlanta, Georgia. I went there and saw over 100 deaf people come to the meeting. The Lord remind me to look at them. He told me, “Who will help the Deaf people?” My heart became burdened for them. I answered and told the Lord, “Me! I will go to the Deaf people and I will not stop serving You.” I decided that nothing would stop me. No matter to me what happens I still stay and serve the Lord.

Later I told Ted and Carlene Camp that I was laid off from my church and I felt God wanted me to be a missionary with Silent Word Ministries. But Ted refused me. Then I prayed to God, and He still wanted me to join SWM. So, I called Ted by TTY and asked him to pray. God touched Ted’s heart about me. Finally Ted called me that I may join SWM. I thank God I did not quit! I want to tell all Christians do not stop serving the Lord. Stay faithful to serve the Lord. He loves you so much to serve Him, and He uses you to help other Deaf people be saved. I am happy I never quit! You also need to decide to never quit Christ,

Special Update on Ronnie Rice

Don & Sherry Chevalley recently returned from visiting Ronnie Rice. They reported: “Ronnie had a catheter ablation procedure on July 3 in Norfork, Virginia.” This summer was the first time in over 50 years that Ronnie has been unable to go to the Bill Rice Ranch, and he was very disappointed. After the procedure he has improved and plans to preach again. He refuses to quit and, as the train, he wants to stay on track and keep going.

He states, “I can, I can, I know I can.”
Guess who he has been watching on TV
while recovering at home?
First Place Braves“Go Braves”….

Good News! Allen Snare jus.t reported Ronnie Rice will preach three times at the Bill Rice Ranch during Deaf Adult Week, July 29 – August 2. Yea!

If you would like to contact and encourage him: Postal Mail: PO Box 672, Onley, VA 23418-0672

Release It and Let It Go!

Recently my heart was heavy, and I was struggling with my emotions, but I did not want to be sad before others. During that time the best thing for me was to run to the Word of God for help. I read, “At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release … because it is called the LORD’s release … thine hand shall release” (Deut. 15:1-3). The three releases help relieve and release my struggles. The Lord knew just what I needed to read and think about! We all have areas in our lives that we need to learn to release and “let it go!First, we need to let go of worry. Many people worry about things that can never be changed. We worry about our health, money, family situations, and the world situation. We need to let it go and let God work everything out for His honor and glory. Second, we need to let go of our past failures or successes. These things are in the past, so we must release them. We cannot change them or go back to them. We must give them to the Lord. Confess your failures and let Him wash them white as snow with His precious blood. The third thing we need to release and let go are the things others have done to hurt us. God sees everything that has happened. He knows everything. He will deal with those who hurt us. God can take care of the situation better than we can. We should give it to Him and pray for those who have hurt us. The fourth thing we need to release and let go is our children. Even the eagle knows when it is best to push the children out of the nest. I have been struggling with this. The Lord has blessed us with four children. They were with us for what seemed to be a very short time. Now they are grown and gone. I must accept the fact that they are old enough to live on their own. Even though it is hard, I must let them go. The next verses say, “The LORD shall greatly bless thee … Only if thou carefully hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God” (Deut. 15:4-5). I do desire His blessing upon their lives as they seek to do His will. This means I must let our children go to serve the Lord wherever He calls them – whether it be to another country or to the heart of New York City! But I will leave the light on for them!

Line Up

Sometimes people are just going about their normal routines and suddenly feel a sharp or stabbing pain. Maybe it has happened to you. You bent over and almost could not get back up. Or maybe you “slept wrong” and felt that “crick in your neck” that prevented you from turning your head the rest of the day, or you stood almost the whole day because it hurt too much to sit down. Often when this happens, people turn to a chiropractor to help get them back in alignment. Some studies show that when the parts of the body are lined up correctly, they will work properly, resulting in better health, comfort, and strength. Even a small curve where it should not be, or the lack of a curve where it should be, can affect the body’s function and cause pain. The person’s body needs to be “adjusted,” or lined up, for it to function correctly and without pain.

But the Bible speaks of another type of alignment that can have even more important results. Psalm 7:10 tells Christians that our defense comes from God when our hearts are “upright,” straight, lined up with Him. We need His defense because of our enemies. These enemies are not our neighbors, co-workers, political officials, those of different religious beliefs, nor even those who claim to have no need of God. Our greatest enemy is often our flesh and our desires. We daily struggle with the enemies of pride, greed, wrong thoughts, a critical spirit, jealousy, or a lack of faith and prayer. When we take off on our own paths, lining up with our wills instead of His will, the enemies of worry, bitterness, gossip, lying, and even laziness can attack and conquer us. We can try to defeat these with our own strength, but we will fail. But when we “adjust” our hearts and line up with God and His Word, He becomes our strong defense against the enemy. He is our shield, and nothing can get past His defense!

Proper alignment physically may get your body working for you and prevent aches and pains, but proper alignment spiritually – your heart aligned with God and His plan for your life – will place God as your defense from those spiritual enemies and sins that could cause great spiritual pain in your life. Line up with God!

WHY? WHY? WHY?

In our early years of ministry when Ted was pastor, we had the opportunity to be foster parents to several deaf children. It was a joy and a challenge. We learned more about deaf culture from the experience, and we hope we were an encouragement and help to the foster children. One foster child was a beautiful, energetic and outgoing teenage girl. Her personality was the type that people of all ages liked. She knew how to win hearts.

We worked hard at treating the foster children the same as our own children. That included certain rules of the household and a certain lifestyle behavior. Each was expected to obey and do his part as a member of the family. Often this deaf young lady asked to go certain places or to be involved in activities that we felt were not in her best interest. When we told her “No,” she responded with, “Why? Why? Why?” As she signed this word, she also voiced it. After 50 years, Ted and I still mimic that cute personality quirk. Almost every child when told that he cannot do something or have something, will ask this famous question, “Why?”

Think about it. Has your child, after telling him “yes” or giving him what he wanted, asked “Why?” I don’t think so. It seems that the “Why?” of life is ongoing. But as we mature, our “Whys” are different from the time we were children and wanted our own way. Or, are they? Perhaps, the change is in the things we want. It is natural to want good health, a long life, obedient and happy children, and a successful marriage. Loyal friends, a comfortable home, successful jobs, close relationships, understanding, security, and to live happily ever after are also desired. But life is not like that. All of us have a measure of things that bring us joy and happiness. And everyone, even the best of Christians, the best of families, will have reasons to ask, “Why?” Life is filled with trials, hurt, neglect, difficulties, hard times, tragedies, horrific crimes, injustice, illness, death, and abuse. Daily we read about it in the newspaper, see it on social media, or see it on TV. Real life for everyone will have its tough times. “Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7).

Why? Why? Why?

Early this year, dear friends laid to rest their 14 year old grandson who took his own life. Heartbroken they asked, “Why?” In Africa last year, a missionary was shot and killed. He had just arrived on the field with his family of eight. “Why?” was repeated by many. Children of faithful Christian parents are turning their backs on God and the church causing deep heartbreak and sorrow. In times like these, it is only natural for the “Whys?” to come.

Trust and Obey

I have learned that God allows us to ask why, as long as we trust and obey Him. Even Jesus, on the cross asked, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” But while He was asking why, He was being obedient. Perhaps, the same as Job, we will never know the answers for why things happen. But may we say along with Job, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in him…” (Job 13:15). Maybe in Heaven we will learn the reasons why. Until then, we can be assured of God’s love (Romans 8:38,39), wisdom (James 3:17), and justice (Romans 12:19). We can learn to be content and leave the why unanswered. “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11).

When the whys come, here are some suggestions that may help:

1. Focus your mind on God. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3). God knows everything. He knows how we feel, what makes us afraid, what we need, and how to help us. He knows the end from the beginning.

2. Talk to someone who cares. Remember that broken hearts are not healed by explanation or by understanding the why. Even if you knew why, you would still have the hurt. Broken hearts are healed by the love of God, family, and friends, and the hope we have in God. “Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord” (Psalm 31:24). (Sometimes professional help is needed to guide the process.)

3. Realize your helplessness, and depend on God who is all-powerful. Taking our hands off and surrendering to God can give peace that passes understanding. I remember a time in my life when I struggled for the answer to my “Why?” I was physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. The moment I said, “Lord, I can’t do it anymore, I surrender, I give up,” His peace came over me like a warm blanket. I will never forget that experience. Now, when I am tempted to worry and to struggle for the answer, I remember His peace. I was helpless, but God gave me comfort and contentment. It was all in the surrender. “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (I Peter 5:7).

Why? Why? Why? We may never know, but God knows and He cares. We may not know why, but we can know WHO. He never makes a mistake. We can always trust Him (Proverbs 3:5-6).

This is written because I care… Carlene

Become a Deaf Person

Sign language students in high school or college often have an assignment to experience life as a Deaf person for 12-24 hours. They are told to not respond to anyone who only speaks to them. They must find other methods of expressing themselves, such as writing, pointing, pantomiming, texting, and using voice to speech phone apps. Certainly, this can be a great learning experience.

Try wearing earplugs for a day. You may also want to wear a sign or label with the words, “I’m experiencing Deaf Culture for a day. I am not allowed to speak or respond to noises. Thank you for helping me learn.”

What can you do? Order at a restaurant, tell your friend about your day (writing), observe your family without listening to their words, be careful and use your eyes more when you drive, watch a video with (or without) captions, go shopping, try to return something to a store.

What should you try to learn? Consider the following: If you were Deaf, how would that affect your job? Would you be able to have that job? What would your family situation be like? How would hearing loss affect having a newborn child, going to a funeral or church, social interactions, the friends you choose? What would life be like if you needed to wait for an interpreter to help in the doctor’s office?

Many years ago, while I was in college, I lost my voice. I could hear fine, but could not speak, so I was put on “voice rest” for a week. I communicated using a writing tablet. It was difficult, but I survived. But one of my good friends had difficulty communicating with me and became frustrated. He said, “Just talk with me in a week when your voice is better.” I felt betrayed and abandoned, but the experience helped me understand my calling into the Deaf world. May your experience both bless and challenge you.

Let the redeemed of the LORD

“Let the redeemed of the LORD say so.” – Psalm 107:2

One of my greatest joys is when I have the opportunity to “say so.” This year is my 56th year since I trusted Jesus as my Savior. No one needed to tell me that I should tell others about my experience of having my sin debt removed by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ! I did not need a class on soul-winning as I simply shared my testimony to others. All I needed was someone unsaved to listen as I told them what Jesus did for me and what He will also do for you. It has been my extreme honor and thrilling privilege to introduce folks to my Savior whom I have gladly served since my salvation. Just last night, I stood before a group of about 30 women in a county prison. I told them of the hope and joy I found when I was saved. I shared a very precious verse from the last chapter of the last book in our Bible. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17). I would love to tell you that all 30 women received Christ, but that did not happen. However, I left that prison thrilled that I, as the redeemed, had the opportunity to “say so” in the presence of so many people who had never heard that message before. As SWM missionaries, we are blessed beyond words to stand and Sign to people who cannot hear, that there is a Savior Who gave His life for them! Psalm 107 tells us that this is not exclusively the responsibility of the missionary, but of all who are redeemed. I am thrilled when I see people respond to the Gospel, but I am equally thrilled that I am counted worthy to carry such an invaluable message to those who need it most. I continue to pray for the salvation of those I present the message to regularly, but their salvation is out of my control. My responsibility remains to “say so.” By God’s grace, I want to “say so” unto my last breath.

Who is Ungodly?

Psalm One says that a blessed person (1) avoids sin, (2) loves God’s Word, (3) meditates on God’s Word, and (4) is like a tree planted by the rivers of water. Whatever he does will prosper (Psalm 1:1-3). But, an ungodly person [1] does not avoid sin, [2] does not love God’s Word, [3] does not meditate on God’s Word, and [4] is not like a tree planted by rivers of water. So, what is he like?

The Bible says, “The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away” (Psa. 1:4). “Chaff” is the outer layer that covers grain while it is growing. Wheat can be baked into bread, but first, the wheat must be separated from the chaff. In Bible times, people would thresh or beat wheat to remove the chaff. Next, they would winnow the wheat by tossing it into the air. Wind would blow away the light chaff, while the heavy wheat would fall to the ground in piles. People would be glad to get rid of the worthless chaff and happy to keep the good wheat.

Years ago a deaf man wanted to change his life. He was not a mean man, but he was not happy with his ungodly lifestyle. He told me that he tried and tried to do right. I asked if he read his Bible. He signed, “Never!” That was his problem. He had lots of sinful influence from the world – lots of sinful thoughts, but he had no godly influence from the Bible. He was not like a strong tree that could stand against the wind (bad influences). He was like chaff – light and easy to lead into sin.

Think About Yourself

Are you godly or ungodly? Are you like a tree with deep roots, or, are you like chaff? Will you stand strong through life, or will you be blown away when tempted to sin?
Cease to do evil … Learn to do well”  – Isaiah 1:16,17

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